Mulcahy urges Region to support new Ryanair services

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Clare Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy has said the future viability of Shannon International Airport has been greatly enhanced by Ryanair’s announcement of 8 new services.
The Shannon-based Senator said today’s announcement heralds a new beginning for Shannon and is a further indication of the return to growth at the airport.
Ryanair says that from April 2014 it will begin operating from Shannon to Berlin, Faro, Fuerteventura, Krakow, Munich, Nice, Paris and Warsaw, delivering an additional 300,000 passengers per annum to the airport.
He stated: “In previous years, Shannon was very much dependent on Ryanair and in doing so suffered greatly when the airline withdrew many of its services during 2009 and 2010. However, we are in a much different situation as we head into 2014 with a number of transatlantic and short haul operators now based at Shannon. For example, the short period since autonomy was granted to Shannon Airport has seen some very significant, positive developments take place including Aer Lingus’ new service to Faro, Flybe’s new service to Glasgow and the addition of numerous transatlantic services.”
Senator Mulcahy said it is now up to the people of the West of Ireland to ensure that the services are maintained into the future.
He continued: “We, as a region, cannot afford to be complacent about the services on offer at Shannon as seen with the loss of other services down through the years. By supporting existing services, the people of this region can play an important role in protecting Shannon Airport’s future. To consolidate the future of these new services, I would ask the people of this Region to support Shannon Airport when considering a trip abroad while tourism and hospitality operators can also play their part by promoting the airport as the key gateway to Ireland.”
“As a local community, we have fought long and hard to promote Shannon Airport as the West of Ireland’s transatlantic airport and as provider of quality connectivity to other international locations. Together, we can complement the good work being undertaken by airport management in recent months by supporting the newly announced Ryanair services.
“I want to commend the Government for its decision to scrap the Air Travel Tax from April 2014. This disastrous Fianna Fáil-imposed tax undermined the efforts of airports to retain existing routes and develop new services. I also want to acknowledge Ryanair and Michael O’Leary for fulfilling their promise of restoring services at Shannon should the tax be abolished,” concluded Senator Mulcahy.

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Forestry premium applications accepted online

Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy has welcomed the news that forest owners in Clare can apply for 2014 forestry premiums online courtesy of the forestry online services, developed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
From 19th November 2013, applicants will be able to apply for their 2014 premium if they have registered for the Department’s online services at www.agfood.ie. The online premium application service also allows clients to view some of their payment history and maps of their forest plantations.
Senator Mulcahy said the online application process will speed up the premium payment process for forest owners in Clare.
He continued: “Payments will be made within weeks of the submission of the application instead of having to wait for the bulk run in April. This will provide forest owners with an earlier cash flow. There are currently just over 8,700 forest owners registered for the Department’s online services and these clients will be able to submit future applications online, which leads to more prompt payments and reduced paperwork for the clients.”

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Mulcahy says Bailout is ‘milestone’ moment for Irish economic recovery

Fine Gael Senator for Clare, Tony Mulcahy has said that Ireland’s exit from the bailout will help attract jobs and investment to the country.
While acknowledging the sacrifices made by Irish people in recent years, Senator Mulcahy described exiting the bailout as “a milestone on the road to economic recovery.”
He added that the fact that, from December 15th Ireland will no longer be a bailout country will send a further signal to home-grown and foreign investors that “Ireland is a great place to base their business and create jobs.”
“The EU/IMF arrived three years ago this month. Having our economic sovereignty taken from us was possibly the lowest moment in the history of the State. However, the contrast between then and now could not be greater.
“Our economy is experiencing growth for the third consecutive year and 3,000 new jobs are being created every month. The number of people on the live register has dropped for the sixteenth consecutive month and is now under 400,000 for the first time since 2009. The NTMA has more than €20 billion in cash reserves and interest rates on Irish Government bonds are historically low.
“Our focus from day one has been on job creation and it remains so to this day. Employment grew by 1.8% in the second quarter of 2013; the strongest growth rate recorded in five years.
“This Government has had to take difficult decisions to help Ireland emerge from bankruptcy. However we have tried, as much as we can, to improve the situation for families by removing 330,000 people from paying the Universal Social Charge; by restoring the minimum wage; by reducing the lower rate of VAT to 9%; by not increasing income tax rates and by protecting our corporation tax rate, which supports thousands of jobs right across Ireland.
“I am disappointed with the response of Fianna Fáil to the bailout exit. Having mismanaged Ireland to the point of bankruptcy and then sleepwalked us into the bailout, Fianna Fáil has poured scorn on the fact that we are exiting the programme. This is because they are all too aware of the contrast between their drastic reign and this Government’s considered and sustainable management of the economy.
“Challenges remain, but this is a very significant step forward for Ireland. A clean exit from the bailout bodes extremely well for continuing our economic recovery and creating more jobs,” concluded Senator Mulcahy

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Mulcahy welcomes jobs creation figures

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Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy has welcomed the announcement by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) that 58,000 jobs have been created in the private sector in the last 12 months.
The Fine Gael Senator said the figures represented a “marked turnaround” from the “jobs haemorrhaging legacy” of the last Fianna Fail led Government.
He added that the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is creating the conditions whereby almost 5,000 jobs per month are now being created in Ireland.
“The announcement that almost 5,000 jobs a month are being created is hugely encouraging and shows that this Government’s plan to get Ireland working again is bearing fruit. The creation of 58,000 jobs in the last year is a welcome change to the situation under the last Government where 80,000 jobs per year were being lost in the private sector,” he noted.
Senator Mulcahy continued: “This CSO report takes us up to the end of September 2013. The pro-jobs Budget announced on October 15th by Minister Noonan contained measures which will, I believe, further incentivise small and large businesses to create jobs in Ireland in 2014. The 25 separate measures that support job creation as part of a €500 million pro-jobs package in Budget 2014 will help us build on the excellent progress being made in encouraging investment in Ireland and tackling our unemployment problem.
“The Home Renovation Incentive Scheme is a particularly positive initiative, which will allow homeowners to claim back VAT on improvements carried out on their homes. This will generate significant amounts of work for registered tradesmen and contractors and, I believe, create jobs for people who were laid off when the construction sector collapsed under the last Government.
“The retention of the 9% VAT rate is hugely welcome for the tourism sector, which has enjoyed a surge in visitor numbers over the last two years. The lower VAT rate was originally introduced as a temporary measure, but Minister Noonan has taken the very pragmatic decision to maintain the low rate in a bid to sustain and further encourage growth in this area.
“The scrapping of the airline tax in last month’s budget has already resulted in the introduction of new routes and extra flights on existing routes to Shannon as well as Dublin and Knock Airports. This will create more jobs and bring more money into those regions in 2014. Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, has directly credited the scrapping of the airline tax for the creation of these new routes.
“The unemployment rate has dropped from 13.6% to 12.8% between July and September of this year. While we still have a long way to go, these figures show that we are moving firmly in the right direction. Ireland has experienced a fall in unemployment for the last 16 months in a row and is about to regain its economic independence by exiting the bailout. With a budget in place for next year which will further incentivise job creation, I firmly believe that we are heading in the right direction,” concluded Senator Mulcahy.

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Mulcahy confirms changes to home improvements scheme

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Tony Mulcahy, Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, says an amendment made to the Finance Bill this week makes it easier for home owners to qualify for the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme.
The scheme, announced as part of Budget 2014, enables homeowners to claim tax relief on repairs, renovations or improvement work that is carried out on their homes by tax-compliant contractors. Home owners must be LPT compliant in order to qualify for the Scheme.
“The Finance Bill set a minimum expenditure threshold of €5,000 exclusive of VAT, whereas this amendment has changed that to €5,000 inclusive of VAT (13.5%). In other words, you now only have to spend a minimum of €5,000, whereas previously you would have had to spend €5,675,” explained Senator Mulcahy.
The Shannon-based Senator continued: “I am delighted that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is making it easier for people to claim back VAT on home improvements. This innovative scheme is a great boost to families who wish to expand and improve their homes and will act as a significant boost to tradespersons and people in the construction industry.”
“This measure is about growing the construction sector sustainably and helping families to improve their homes. It will give work and income to many sub-contractors and tradesmen who are trying to compete with black market operators. We need a healthy construction sector and this scheme will help revitalise the industry in a sustainable manner and help get people back to work,” Senator Mulcahy concluded.
See www.revenue.ie for more on the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme.

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Mulcahy urges Clare Principals to apply for SNAs


Senator Tony Mulcahy has welcomed the announcement by Government of its decision to increase the cap on the number of special needs assistants (SNAs) to almost 11,000 in order to meet demands of the country’s growing school population.
The Shannon-based Senator confirmed that Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., has today obtained Cabinet approval to increase the cap on the number of SNAs by 390 in the coming year.
“As a result of this news, I would call on School Principals across Clare to submit applications for SNAs as soon as possible to the Minister’s Department. I am available to lend my support to any school requiring it in this regard,” stated Senator Mulcahy.
He continued: “I know from personal experience, as the father of a child with special needs, that the provision of 390 additional SNAs in our schools will have an enormous impact on the overall development of children across the country. Although the SNA is employed with specific responsibilities for one pupil, the whole principle of inclusion means that a child who has a physical or learning disability is helped to work in the company of other children.”
He continued: While progress has been made during the past couple of years in terms of increasing the number of SNAs, I believe that the Minister and this Government must continue to provide the necessary resources to our schools. The number of pupils in our schools will continue to grow and therefore the demand for SNAs will also increase,” Senator Mulcahy concluded.

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New CEO Appointment is Great News for Shannon Airport

Neil Pakey’s appointment as CEO is a landmark moment for the Mid West Region. There were fewer potential candidates better qualified or accomplished than Mr. Pakey to take on the role of growing business at Shannon Airport.

If there is anyone who can reinstate Shannon Airport as a truly international airport, it’s Neil Pakey, Mr. Pakey’s track record, particularly his central role in establishing Liverpool John Lennon Airport as one of Europe's fastest growing airports, is excellent news for the people of the West of Ireland. Mr. Pakey has previously rapidly expanded the level of services and quality connectivity from Liverpool Airport and other airports during his career. He has also shown his ability in forming mutually beneficial and strong relationships with airlines ensuring that airports under his management have been robust enough to deal with any downturn in the economy or operational decisions by any one airline operator. Backed up by Airport Chairperson Rose Hynes and her Board of Directors, I think Mr. Pakey will thrive in his new role.

The appointment caps off a positive period of growth at Shannon Airport.  The short period since autonomy was granted to Shannon Airport has seen some very significant, positive developments take place at the airport. The appointment of a CEO follows the naming of the Board of Directors, each accomplished in their own field of business, and also comes on foot of a series of other European and American service additions at Shannon.

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Tony Mulcahy

Tony Mulcahy

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The reason I put this Blog up was to gather the views of as many of the people of Clare as possible.

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